Friday, July 29, 2011

Belinda, W Kinzie St & N Canal St, Chicago, IL

Belinda rides a stainless steel fuji absolute frame from the 80s with custom alterations.

Where are you going?
I'm going to The Lab, my yoga spot. It's not new-agey, and the stuff we learn is comparable to the circus classes I used to take.  I also think it will help me to eventually be a b-girl.  Yoga poses and breakdancing freezes are actually really similar.

Tell me more about your bike, and where you got it?
My husband made my bike for me. It has a stainless steel fuji absolute frame from the 80s, but we took all the logos and color off, and painted it taupe. I wanted a boring bike in contrast to the trendy bikes that are really flashy; I don't like my front wheel though.  We could have gotten good money reselling it to hipsters, but I needed a replacement wheel, didn't want to buy another one, and this was the extra we had. Now it's all scratched up because of my brake.  The velocity sticker is still there though. Maybe they'll think it's like that on purpose.

What are you wearing?
I'm wearing my A-gear aka workout type clothes because I'm running late and need to be comfortable with my knees and elbows out flailing about, looking clumsy and sweaty like most Chicagoans who speed bike.   A cropped t-shirt from target, high school girl shorts,  and sneakers.   If I have time and want to look cute, I have to prep myself to be ok w/people passing me so I don't break a sweat or ruin my clothes.  Oh, and I always wear my riding helmet. I hate how bike helmets looks, so i figured an equestrian one would work ,and might even be safer. Horses are like 6 ft tall and jump and stuff.  I also did the research on the most flattering style. A lot of show helmets will have a huge dome where you'll have mushroom head. The IRH Windsor has the lowest profile that I've found and the tan straps match my handlebar tape.

Why ride?
So many reasons!  I make better time. It takes me 40 min on the 'L' to get to work whereas biking is about 25 for a 6 mile trip.  It's like being a kid.  I probably bike more now being a 27 year old than when I was 7.   I also feel really alive because I have to be hyper-aware to not get killed or taken out by a car door.  Being on a bike awakens my spidey-sense.
While riding I either think people are going too slow and pass their ass or that people need to chill out and just enjoy the ride.  I'm bipolar on my bike.

How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?
I think bicyclists should have better etiquette and be more polite.   People on bikes know what they're doing, so cutting someone off, or going through a red light when it's a really close call would be a conscious decision, and it's a reckless one at that.  I don't think people in cars are as attentive when they're on the road.   I mean you can't get angry at the idiot,  because he has asperger's or something and that's a disease.  I would like to be the bigger person.
I also don't go on critical mass because I think people who drive just find us more obnoxious when we hold them up.  I think a major part of bike awareness is making people who don't get it, get it, and get the right message, and not think we're sweaty rogues who make them late to stuff.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lisa and Elsa, N Oakley Ave & W Palmer St, Chicago, IL

Lisa and family ride a Babboe City bakfietsen, grey, imported from Netherlands via J.C. Lind Bike Co.

I spotted Lisa's cargo bike from far off, and as I got closer, my head nearly exploded from cuteness overload!  Seriously, check out her infant daughter comfortably ensconced in the cab of the bike (below).  She was picking up her older daughter from a playdate at Holstein pool.  How's that for an alternative to the family station wagon.  I rode in THIS all through Middle School, and even drove it in High School.  Yup, I was really cool.  I think a bike would have been way cooler.

What are you wearing? Gap dress (also worn during pregnancy), Birkenstocks
Where are you going? Swimming with my daughters and friends
Why ride? Health: mine, family's, the planet's.
Favorite ride? I always enjoyed snaking from UIC back to Logan Square via Fulton and the other west side industrial streets late at night when there were no trucks or anyone else...But I also enjoy nature-y rides like the I&M Canal tow path.
While riding you …?  Mostly focus on staying alive, but sometimes sing songs, make plans, notice little things, feel the weather, talk with my older daughter about heavy or hilarious things.
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly? I think that separated bike lanes are nice (and would catch us up with several more bikeable European cities), but I'm a fan of less infrastructure and more restriction. I think we can do better with a network of bicycle priority or even completely car-free streets through the neighborhoods sometimes known as "bike boulevards." Another thing I fantasized about when I bike-commuted to the Loop every day is a $5 per private car tax to drive into the Loop during week day business hours. It could be earmarked for transit or bike funding, and would make downtown a lot more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tanya, S State & Madison St, Chicago, IL

Tanya rides a a Copper 1983 Schwinn that she got from A Nearly New Shop on Irving Park and Broadway

What are you wearing?  A Turquoise dress and some Vintage Levi cutoffs.

Where are you going? Alluya Spa

Why ride?  I ride for a few reasons:   I like it for the access: with a bike you can go places and do things that pedestrians and automobiles can't, like zip through a green light, weave in and out of traffic.  I like that it is fast and that you can always avoid start/stop action by just taking another street if you see a red light up ahead.  And I like the feeling of freedom -- wind hitting your face, all of that!

Favorite ride? I have a friend with a super cool, super fast bike.  I thought that I really wanted a bike like that, but then, he let me take it on a test ride and I realized that my favorite ride is mine!  I like my bike for so many reasons:  it has the capacity to go really fast, but I still have to put some leg action into it.  I get the speed I crave and the work-out I need at the same time.  Also, my bike is super durable and resilient.  It can weather anything!

While riding you … While riding I like to listen to music.  Depending on my outfit, I'll make-believe that I am a bike messenger.

How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?  Personally, I think that Chicago has a pretty good biking system.  There is the lakefront path that travels the entire north/south axis of the city and a lot of streets have that bike lane.  I think it is a matter of helping people realize how fun it is to bike!  I just finished a book called "The 90 Day Solution:  How to Save the World in 90 Days"  where I offer suggestions (such as biking) that encourage people to engage in activities that are not only healthy, but good for the earth as well.  Hopefully, it will help to get more bikers on the road!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lorene, Wells St. at the Chicago River, Chicago, IL

Lorene rides a single speed maroon Panasonic

What are you wearing?
  I got this polka dot pattern shirt dress from H&M

Tell me about your bike:
  My bike is a single speed put together by an old friend of mine (actually an ex); he found the old maroon Panasonic frame at a thrift store

Where are you going?
  I am heading to the UIC School of Architecture to meet some friends to go to an architecture lecture at the AIC

Why ride?? So many reasons...the sense of freedom, the money and time saved, the stress avoided from driving, the ability to see more of the city and feel a part of it in a completely different way, the exercise, and more time outside !!
Do you have a favorite ride? I love riding under the el tracks downtown when it's not too insane (or just down Franklin St. between Chicago Ave. and the merchandise mart).

While riding I...never listen to music, that just seems insanely dangerous to me. I like to try to people watch when I don't have to look for giant-sized potholes in the road.

Chicago could improve biking by fixing up some major potholes on the sides of roads. They seem to disregard those. It's funny to me how Halsted Ave is designated as a major biking street, but the potholes and overall paving of the street are ridiculous...especially between Chicago Ave and Lake St.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good by to ASIA, Back in the USA

Me on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An, Vietnam Motorbikes are EVERYWHERE.

While my trip to Asia was fantastic, I have to admit, I much prefer photographing the cyclists of Chicago.  One if my favorite things about posting local images, is learning tidbits about each person, and seeing how they bring their individual style to their bike.  The language barrier really prevented that in Vietnam and Cambodia.  That said, I'm really glad to have seen how seamlessly the Vietnamese and Cambodians incorporate their bicycles into daily life, not for any political or environmental reasons, but for sheer economic reason.  Cycling is the most efficient and cost effective form of transportation around.  They don't think they are "exercising," it is just the best way to get from point A to point B.  No one rides anywhere fast (except the occasional teen boy), they take their time.  One day back in Chicago, and I am being cut off, from the inside, by some dick on a mountain bike that couldn't possibly be shown up by a girl in heels.  I propose mandatory etiquette classes to some of the new cyclists of Chicago.

I am very excited to start posting pics from the sweltering heat that is now Chicago.  Coming soon: another Guys week.  Gentlemen, I have been remiss in ignoring you.  Please, if you are feeling particularly fancy, flag me down and make me take your picture.  I'll be the girl heading down State St. with the tripod strapped to the back of her bike.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dusk, Lao Cai, Vietnam

This woman was picking up her friend from the bus terminal. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

At the market, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Most of the markets are run by bike, with people coming in from the countryside with their fresh produce.  Bike Carts also sell much of the fruit and vegetables.

The greens in her basket are Morning Glory.   Americans call it water spinach, and here it is considered and invasive species.  In Vietnam its a staple, because it grows like a weed year round, and is pretty good for you. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two Can Pedal, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

One of my favorite things about cyclists in Vietnam and Cambodia is that when two people are on the same bike, they often BOTH pedal.  It was such a cute idea and very egalitarian.  Instead of the American focus on individual strength, it shows the core belief in working together.  Its cool to see that attitude manifested in such a simple act. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An Thoi city on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

The Vietnamese Navy has a base in An Thoi, and I caught this sailor riding around the town on leave. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Downtown Siem Reap, Cambodia

Three to a bike is not an uncommon site in Siem Reap.  I love how it looks like this baby is falling asleep!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hand Made Carrying Cases

I love how resourceful these make-shift rear rack carriers are. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Boys joyriding on their way home from school. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who cares about the rain

June is the beginning of rainy season in Cambodia.  Most people just go on with their daily lives and pack a cheap rain poncho!  Or have their passenger carry the umbrella.

This bike comes with a padded seat already installed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bike Fancy Cambodia and Vietnam

Siem Reap, Cambodia 

Doubling up is almost the norm in Cambodia, especially for younger children.

The next two weeks at Bike Fancy will be devoted to bike photos from my travels in Cambodia and Vietnam. The bicycle is a cheap and reliable form of transportation, and for many people in South East Asia, it is the only choice economically. Most kids ride their bike to school, and lots of people ride to and for work despite the 90˚ heat.  It has been great to see how different and also similar cycling culture is in these countries.  
Lots of illustrative photos to come!